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How To Write Headlines That Get Attention

By Expert Author: Jesse Ross

No doubt, the headline is the most important part of any advertisement or sales letter. The reason is very simple. The headline is the first thing your prospect sees when he or she looks at your advertisement.
It's an advertisement for your advertisement.
The only purpose of your headline is to get your prospect to continue reading your ad or sales letter. It must get your reader's attention and it must pull them into your ad.
Your headline must be so irresistible that your reader has to find out more.
It doesn't make a difference how good your product or service is or how good your advertising copy is, if your headline isn't any good, your ad or sales letter won't get read.
Let's take a look at what two legendary copywriters have to say about the importance of good headlines:
"Advice to copywriters: When you are assigned to write an ad, write a lot of headlines first. Spend hours writing headlines -- or days if necessary. If you can come up with a good headline, you are almost sure to have a good ad. But even the greatest writer can't save an ad with a poor headline." --John Caples
"On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. If you haven't done some selling in your headline, you have wasted 80 percent of your money. The wickedest of all sins is to run an advertisement without a headline." -- David Olgilvy
It never ceases to amaze me how many advertisements I see that don't have headlines.
All advertisements should have a headline.
Let's talk about the rules you should follow when writing headlines, the different types of headlines you can use, proven words to use in headlines, and how you can become an expert at writing headlines.
Rules to follow when writing headlines:
1. First and foremost, your headline must appeal to your reader's self interest. Communicate the strongest benefit (or benefits) to your prospect. Everybody's favorite radio station is "WIIFM" -- What's In It For Me? Your headline should answer this important question.
2. Attract the attention of the prospect you'd like to target. If your headline doesn't attract the right people, it has failed. Your headline must reach out to your prospect, grab them by the throat and say, "Hey!!! I'm talking to you!"
3. Your headline must deliver a clear and understandable message. Most people read only the headlines. Because of this, your headline must make a complete statement and compel the prospect to continue reading the body copy.
4. If you have news, such as a new product, be sure to get that news into your headline in a big way.
5. Don't try to be clever or humorous with your headlines. These type of headlines are ineffective and a waste of money.
6. Include the words "quick" and "easy" if it fits what you are communicating.
7. Use specifics in your headlines, not generalities. For example, "Make $5,274 In 30 Days" is a better headline than "Make Money Fast". Specifics are more believable.
8. Always test two headlines against each other to see which one pulls the best.
9. Use upper and lower case letters for your headlines. This is easier to read than all caps. I also like to put quotation marks around my headlines. Studies have shown that quotation marks around headlines increase readership.
10. When it's time for you to write a headline for your ad, write at least 50 headlines. Some direct marketers spend days writing hundreds of headlines in search of the right one. To come up with selling headlines takes more than just a few minutes. You've got to commit yourself to sitting down and writing at least 50 headlines!
Your headline is the key to your entire ad's success. If you don't tell your prospect what's in it for them, you won't get their attention. If you don't get their attention, they won't read your ad. And if they don't read your ad, you've wasted your time and money.
Different types of headlines:
To help you write headlines that get attention, let's take a look at the different types of headlines you can use, how and when you may want to use them, and actual examples of headlines that were successful.
o The News Headline. If your product or service offers something newsworthy, announce it in your headline. Newsworthy is usually the introduction of a new product or the improvement of an existing product.
Here are some words you can use in your News
Headline: New, Announcing, Introducing, Finally, Just Released, Now, At Last.
"Now! Own Florida Land This Easy Way... $20.00 Down And $20.00
A Month"
"New Diet Burns Off More Fat Than If You Ran 98 Miles A Week"
"Announcing... The New Edition Of The Encyclopedia That Makes It Fun To Learn Things"
o The Guarantee Headline. Guarantee Headlines state a desirable benefit, and guarantee results or other benefits. If you offer a powerful guarantee, let your prospects know by stating it in the headline.
"Play Guitar In 7 Days Or Money Back"
"Announcing A New Technologically Advanced Golf Ball You Will Never Lose, Never Slice, And Never Miss... 100% Guaranteed"
o The How To Headline. These two words -- "how to", are very powerful words. You can never go wrong using a How To Headline. (Over 7,000 book titles start out with How To.) How To Headlines promise your prospect a source for information, advice, and solutions to their problems. If you ever get stumped for a headline, use the How To Headline -- it works!

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